Ahead of the fourth annual Norman Hunter Golf Day in June, the family of Leeds United legend Norman Hunter had the opportunity to visit Leeds Cancer Centre for an update on how their fundraising is making a difference.

Since their first golf day in 2021, Norman’s family have raised £112,368 in his memory. The money raised for Leeds Hospitals Charity is supporting innovative technology and groundbreaking research into Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds.

The 2023 event was a huge success, raising over £36,000 which has gone towards supporting individualised next-generation testing alongside the FLAIR and STATIC, which are large, internationally significant trials that will inform future Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia treatment on a global scale.

The family decided to fundraise in Norman’s memory after he sadly died in April 2020 from COVID-19, aged 76. For seven years before his death, Norman was treated at Leeds Cancer Centre after being diagnosed with CLL, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. 

Read More: Family of Leeds United legend raise £75,000 to support research into Leukaemia

At their visit to the hospital, Norman’s family heard from researchers and clinicians working on these trials, as well as Cathy, a patient who is part of the University of Leeds led FLAIR trial, focused on personalised treatment options to improve outcomes for CLL patients.

62-year-old Cathy was diagnosed with CLL in 2018, she spoke to us about what it’s been like to be part of this pioneering research supported by charity funding:

“When the doctors told me I had cancer my first thought was ‘Am I going to die?’ and then ‘Will I ever get to meet my future grandchildren?’ I was terrified. But here I am six years later, making special memories with my two grandchildren, all thanks to the incredible treatment I’ve had at Leeds Cancer Centre.”

“I was dreading the thought of chemotherapy treatment and the possible gruelling side effects, but this new trial offered me with less invasive treatment options, and it’s been really smooth sailing. Thanks to this, my life has remained as normal as it can be, I’ve been able to keep doing the things I love like playing in my orchestra and spending time with the grandkids. I feel incredibly lucky that this trial is giving me many more years to live my life to the fullest.”

Cathy sitting on the sofa holding her two grandchildren Drew and baby Alaia

Dr Darren Newton, Lecturer in Haematology and Immunology at the University of Leeds spoke to us about how the fundraising is helping his team identify better treatments and potentially move towards a cure:

“The money raised by the Hunter family has enabled us to support research into the more personalised treatments given to patients like Cathy. We have seen hugely promising results from these trials led by Dr Tahla Munir at St.James’s Hospital. Over 1,500 patients in over 100 centres across the UK took part in the FLAIR trial, with  90% of patients treated with combination targeted therapies testing as completely negative for CLL in their blood.

“We’re hugely grateful to the family for their ongoing support, and together we are working towards our ultimate goal of finding a cure for CLL. All of the team would like to wish the family good luck ahead of the golf day in June.”

Read More: Norman Hunter Golf Day 2024

Norman’s wife Sue spoke to us about what the fundraising means to their family:

“It has been absolutely fantastic so see how much progression there has been with this vital research since we last met with Darren and the team. To hear first-hand how our fundraising is having an ongoing impact makes all of our efforts worthwhile. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and hope this goes a long way to revolutionise treatment and improve outcomes for CLL patients.”

“This is all only possible because of everyone who has come together to support the golf day. We never imagined the event would have raised so much money, and we know that Norman would be beaming with pride. We are really looking forward to the fourth annual golf day in a couple of months’ time, which we hope will be the biggest and best yet!”

The fourth annual golf day will be held on 14th June 2024 at Horsforth Golf Club. You can email [email protected] to find out more.

You can support the 2024 Norman Hunter Golf Day here

All funds raised will at the event will support the research team and their continuing research into Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) at the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to get closer to finding curative treatments.